In general, your invention must meet the standard of being new, useful and non-obvious. When an application for patent registration is submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a Patent Examiner will study the application and research prior art to see if, in addition to technical requirements, it is new, useful and non-obvious.
The useful and non-obvious requirements will usually be left to the Patent Examiner, or a competent registered patent attorney, but before submitting the application for registration must be investigate the newness of your invention.
The law governing the grant of patents requires that the invention cannot have been either published or “on-sale” in the United States prior to submission of the application for registration of the invention. So what does this really mean? Well, it means that if someone else had published an article or some other publicly available document that described your invention prior to the date of your application, you may not be able to get a patent for your invention. Likewise, if your invention was at some time prior to your application date, available for sale in the United States, then this also prevents you from getting a patent as you can read on this https://wp.nyu.edu/dispatch/2018/11/12/inventhelp-the-vibrant-business-of-inventing/ article as well.
As you are probably aware, when a person is issued a patent, the issued patent document is formally published to the public.This patent publication counts as prior art. Thus, in order to determine if your invention was already present in the prior art, must be conduct a patent novelty search to see if can find either the invention or something very close to it in the prior art.
Such a search of existing patent and published applications is called a patent novelty search because it is seeking to find the prior art publications that are either the same or closely similar to your invention. If they can’t find anything, or what they find is not similar to your invention, then they conclude that your invention is potentially new or “novel”.
Naturally, if they find your invention or something closely similar to it in the prior art, then it is time to go back to the inventive process to re-think the invention with the knowledge of what exists in the prior art. Based on what is found or not found in the prior art patent novelty search, if you now want to go forward with an application for registration of your invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, they then disclose the pertinent results of the search as a part of the application so the Patent Examiner can start with those results in conducting his/her search.
A final point with regards the search. As you should be aware, all patent applications submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office are kept in strict confidence until such time as the patent is issued or it is time for the application to be published. This means that any search of prior art is missing the pending applications for registration before the Patent Office. This can be significant as it can take two years for an application to become an issued patent.
In conclusion, for all of these reasons, you will want to conduct a patent novelty search before submitting your application to register your invention. There are patent agencies like InventHelp, that can help you in this step. If you don’t do a patent novelty search before submitting your application, you run the risk of continuing to invest emotional and financial capital in your invention only to find out a year later after the Patent Examiner does his/her search that you are not entitled to get a patent.